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Conscience Magazine

The Church and Abortion: Archbishop Publicly Attacks U.S. Speaker of the House over Pro-Choice Views

May 6, 2021

FOLLOWING COMMENTS IN AN interview with former Secretary of State and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco attacked U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in a public statement. Citing remarks Pelosi made about her views on choice as well as comments concerning Donald Trump’s pandering to anti-choice voters, Archbishop Cordileone accused the pro-choice cause of being “a smokescreen for perpetuating an entire industry that profits from one of the most heinous evils imaginable.”

Because the speaker’s views are shared by millions of Americans and Catholics across the globe, the archbishop decided to intensify his comments in the coming days, turning his ire toward a large swath of the faithful. Impugning many of his own parishioners as well as Catholics worldwide, Archbishop Cordileone asserted that “Catholics no longer understand the idea of worthiness to receive Communion.” Denigrating those that oppose the church hierarchy’s position on abortion, he accused progressive laity of considering the sacrament “a sort of a token gesture of welcome and belonging.”

With members of the hierarchy already opposed to Biden’s LGBTQ and pro-choice views, some see Archbishop Cordileone’s comments as merely another case of high-ranking clergy opposing progressive politicians. However, with U.S. bishops once more debating the use of canonical penalty to deny Communion to pro-choice Catholics, some view the comments as part of an expanded approach to all laity. Speaking out against such potential abuses, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego said that denial of Communion to pro-choice politicians could quickly evolve into a “a weaponization of the Eucharist, and an effort not to convince people by argument, by dialogue and reason, but rather to pummel them into submission on the issue.”